World’s largest scuba diver organization aims to restore ocean health and support coastal communities globally, driven by local efforts
In celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors®) today announced the creation of PADI AWARE Foundation. The non-profit public charity is dedicated to driving local action for global ocean conservation. The new PADI AWARE Foundation shares PADI’s mission to expand advocacy and achieve critical ocean conservation goals in the years ahead. Leveraging PADI’s vast membership network of Mission Hubs across the world, the PADI AWARE Foundationä will operate as an independent non-profit organization supported by the PADI® brand and organization.
In support of PADI’s mission to create one billion PADI Torchbearers to explore and protect the ocean, the new foundation will build citizen-led conservation and activism programs, as well as expand current ones, to address key ocean threats, such as marine debris, climate change, marine habitat loss and vulnerable species protection across the planet.
“Saving the ocean requires all of us around the world acting together in thousands of ways on local and international levels, united by our passion to provide balance between humanity and the ocean across the planet,” said Drew Richardson, president and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “As we enlist PADI Torchbearers and encourage them to become global ambassadors in the movement to save the ocean, it is critical that we provide a clear pathway to action.”
As one of its first projects, PADI AWARE Foundation will launch a Community Grant Program in 2021, providing much-needed financial resources to enable local ocean protection initiatives hosted by PADI Dive Centers and Resorts – “PADI Mission Hubs.” To facilitate and enable localized efforts, on Tuesday, June 8, PADI will launch a PADI Conservation Activities Locator on PADI.com, empowering divers and non-divers alike to search, discover and engage in ocean conservation activities, events and courses—in and out of the water—with PADI Members across the planet.
Through their joint Blueprint for Ocean Action, PADI and PADI AWARE Foundation will work to:
- Rid the oceans of marine debris: Reduce marine debris by 50% in targeted countries through strategic partnerships and the PADI AWARE Community Grant Program
- Multiply the number of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Protect 30% of the ocean through partner collaboration and expansion of the Adopt a Dive® Site program
- Protect endangered and vulnerable marine species: Protect 20 vulnerable shark and ray species by deploying in-country conservation campaigns
- Accelerate coral reef recovery and restoration: Restore 5% of coral reef habitats through citizen science programs and project funding for key coral reef habitats
- Reduce and offset the carbon footprint of the diving industry: Achieve carbon neutrality across the PADI organization’s supply chain and mobilize PADI Torchbearers to restore, protect and fund seagrass habitats to offset carbon
“To achieve these goals, we will unite the largest network of dive centers and resorts, dive professionals, and citizen divers the world has ever seen in order to take action as PADI Torchbearers in their communities, linking local action to global impact,” adds Richardson. “The vision for the Conservation Activities Locator tool is to enable divers and other ocean enthusiasts to turn their passions into purpose and bring forward a new era of ocean stewardship and sustainability.”